Fourth-ranked Tide rolls into South Bend
South Bend, IN (Sports Network) – The fourth-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide will
attempt to avoid an upset in tonight’s non-conference road clash with the
Notre Dame Fighting Irish.
Alabama is a perfect 7-0 thus far and has five double-digit victories under
its belt. The most recent came on Saturday by a 78-60 final over
Tennessee State. While most of the opponents that the team has faced have
been rather weak, the Tide did knock off Big Ten foe Iowa and Atlantic 10
power Xavier on back-to-back nights last month. SEC play begins on January
6th, and Alabama will certainly be challenged regularly by opponents such as
LSU, Florida and Kentucky.
As for Notre Dame, it has won all four of its home games to date and owns a
6-1 overall record. The club has reeled off five straight victories since
its only loss of the season, a two-point setback to a Butler squad that is
now nationally ranked. On Sunday, the Fighting Irish put forth a tremendous
effort in an 81-74 victory over Maryland.
Notre Dame holds a 2-1 edge in the all-time series with Alabama, including
last season’s 78-71 victory over the Tide.
Four of Alabama’s five starters scored in double figures in the romp over
Tennessee State last time out. Jermareo Davidson led the way with 22 points,
eight rebounds and five blocks, and Mykal Riley nailed 4-of-6 three-pointers
en route to 14 points. All-American point guard Ronald Steele returned from
injury to post 12 points and five assists, and Alonzo Gee rounded out the
foursome with 11 points. The Tide connected on 54.9 percent of its field goal
attempts in the tilt, including 9-of-15 from behind the arc. Defensively, the
team limited its opponent to 34.3 percent shooting from the floor. A balanced
attack has enabled Alabama to average 75.6 ppg through seven outings, while
strong team defense has held foes to 58.3 ppg on 33.8 percent overall
shooting. Davidson is posting 15.3 ppg, 10.7 rpg and 4.0 bpg, and Gee is close
behind in scoring with 14.9 ppg. Richard Hendrix adds 12.9 ppg, and Steele is
posting 12.6 ppg with 27 assists against 10 turnovers.
Notre Dame has had no trouble generating offense this season, as the club is
racking up 84.4 ppg on 51.2 percent shooting from the floor. Defensively, the
team is limiting foes to 62.3 ppg. Rob Kurz has been outstanding for the
Fighting Irish, as he is netting 15.4 ppg on 66.0 percent shooting from the
field to go along with 8.0 rpg. Russell Carter checks in with 15.1 ppg, and
Colin Falls is contributing 12.9 ppg. The fourth and final double-digit scorer
is Luke Harangody with 12.6 ppg for Notre Dame, which is pulling down 12.1 rpg
more than its opponents. Kyle McAlarney tallied 18 points on 4-of-6 shooting
from three-point range for Notre Dame in the win over Maryland last time out.
Kurz tallied 16 points despite foul trouble, and Falls finished with 14 points
despite a 1-of-8 effort from long range. As for Carter, his 13 points and four
steals certainly helped the cause.